Arthur Carr: One aspect of your work . . . is your use of the object—often a found object, I believe, an object that you may have come upon accidentally or incidentally. . . . And I’m wondering if you could give us any background to the use of such objects and what you feel they might symbolize, if anything.
Robert Indiana: Well, of course, I consider very definitely, Arthur, that my use of the object, my interest in the object, has a very clear and definite starting point, and in that . . . I was never in a place long enough in all these moves from school to school and city to city and country to country, that I ever had the desire to collect too many things. Now, down on Coenties Slip, even though there was a constant cloud of impermanency and a threat that maybe next month I wouldn’t be there, still I think I knew that I was going to be there for a long time and I was. And it was on these visits to your house on the island [Fire Island] and the walks along the seashore and finding those old pieces of wood and those rusted objects that I first began to consider them, and just coincidental to that, as I said about words and the artist’s use of words, it was in the air at the time. It just seemed that all of a sudden everybody was both collecting and using this kind of material. Obviously someone like Louise Nevelson preceded everyone else, but, the whole thing culminated in the Assemblage Show at the Museum of Modern Art. This is the first—this was the first show that I was in. Now this was an immediate both incitement and encouragement and I was by my location on Coenties Slip, I found myself in an absolute mine of material because all these old buildings were being torn down and there were all these beautiful, weathered pieces of wood just lying in the street, asking to be taken back to the studio, and that’s exactly what I did. So that the objects began geographically and in sympathy with something that was going on at the time.
Carr: Do you recall what any of those first objects were that you might have found on the island?
Indiana: Well, of course, one selects, and as you may remember, those things—the one thing that attracted me the most were the old, rusted tricycle and bicycle wheels, one of which I used in your, the construction you have [Slip (1961)]. Of course, I seem to be attracted to and use circular imagery in all of my work, but certainly in the construction, practically every single construction either contains a wheel or there is an image of a circle on the construction.
Arthur C. Carr, "The Reminiscences of Robert Indiana," New York, November 1965, Arthur C. Carr papers; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library, pp. 107–08.